A exciting round to finish the group stages, with a couple of upsets. Here’s my review of all the action.
4 from 6, I didn’t see the results in pool A coming.
Argentina 6 – 29 Scotland
England 18 – 30 France
Wales 66 – 3 Japan
Samoa 30 – 24 Italy
South Africa 46 – 13 Australia
New Zealand 25 – 3 Ireland
Scotland start the stronger and pulled out a 9-0 lead but were pulled back by 2 penalties from Argentina by half time. But the second half belonged to Scotland as they scored 20 unanswered points. Argentina’s discipline and inability to hold onto a ball meant that they were always going to struggle. Scotland stole the ball 22 times and that won them the game.
France got onto the scoreboard first and extended their lead with the English errors first not fielding a high kick and then giving up an interception. England did pull back some points before halftime. In the second half France got the first points on the board but England countered. France again stretched their lead only for England to pull back a score but it was all too little and France ran out comfortable winners.
Japan did score first but after that Wales totally dominated. They racked up over 700 meters running with the ball and broke Japan’s defensive line at will. But 21 turnovers each made it a bit of a scrappy affair as Wales cruised to the expected win.
Italy struck first off the back of their scrum, but Samoa struck back in fine fashion with a couple of tries of their own to open up a lead. Even though Italy pulled a try back the Samoans still led by 8 points at the break. Italy again struck first in the second half with two more of tries from their forwards. That gave Italy a 4 point lead with half an hour to go which was closed to 1 point ten minutes later. Samoa then took the lead with a converted try to set up but they held out.
South Africa showed they power by blitzing the Australians in the open quarter to go 17-3 up. They couldn’t keep up that pace but stretched their lead to 20-3 at half time. They came out strong in the second half as well and more tries by the hour mark sealed the game. Australia did manage tow tries themselves in the last twenty minutes but it was all over. South Africa go into the playoffs as top seeds and looking might strong.
Ireland were the first on the board but that was the only points of the game that they got. Both sides were happy to kick the ball but the difference came when they tried to run. Ireland only managed 1 clean break all game to New Zealand’s 14. Add into that 48 tackles that were missed and this was only going to end one way. New Zealand were 11-3 up at half time but it was the first ten minutes of the second half where they sealed the game. In fact the last half hour didn’t see either side score. New Zealand claimed the top of the group but will need to put in a full 80 minutes to progress further.